Astree loves Celadon and vice versa, with the kind of suicide-pact love that mainly exists among 17-year-olds in tragi-romantic plays. His parents don’t approve so the young lovers make a public show of dating other people… but Astree believes the show, feels betrayed and tells Celadon to piss off, so he goes and drowns himself in the river. Not quite dead, he’s rescued by nymph Galathée and her gang. Gal wants hunky Cel for herself but he escapes and hides away in the forest, eating berries, refusing to approach his beloved because, after all, she ordered him away. Meanwhile, Astree and Cel’s brother alternate (“he must be dead!” “he must be alive!”).
I guess I see the Rohmer moral theme at work here. Cel loves his girl so he must remain faithful to her and do as she says, staying away even if she doesn’t know he’s alive. But as Jimmy said, breaking into a giggling fit after hearing Celadon echo his simple emotions for the thousandth time, “he’s SO dumb!” It’s hard to disagree… they are all so dumb, and the movie is so straightforward and simple that it gets frustrating. Some nice imagery though, I thought (Katy said it looked made-for-public-television). Best not to get into the ending, in which Celadon pretends (not convincingly) to be a girl in order to get closer to his beloved.
Astree is Stephanie Crayencour and Celadon is Andy Gillet, neither of whom have shown up elsewhere yet. Jocelyn Quivrin who played Celadon’s brother died in a car crash two months ago. Nominated for the golden lion in Venice along with six movies I’ve loved (and also Sukiyaki Western Django) but they all lost to Lust, Caution, which I thought didn’t get good reviews.
Adapting Honoré d’Urfé’s novel of 5th century Gaul life, The Romance of Astree and Celadon claims to reproduce less the period depicted than its 17th century readers’ imagination of the earlier period. Commensurate with this goal, the director features canvases painted in the seventeenth century, a castle built well after the novel’s setting and importantly a grafting of the Christian faith onto the Druid-themed source material.